Inquire, Inquire – 5
Where is the evidence of G-d’s hand in our lives?
How would such evidence relate to religious belief and practice?
Hasgacha peratis (divine guidance), is bestowed upon all human beings; yet, to the degree of awareness that is developed over time, some people may be less aware than others of H’Shem’s individual attention. Nevertheless, this awareness may be developed by all, by way of setting aside time for heshbon hanefesh (literally, an accounting of the soul). Daily reflection, both at a set period of time, as well as sporadically, throughout the day, one should contemplate his thoughts, speech and actions. This would include interactions with others, as well as reflections of the past, that still present challenges in the realm of morality. In this latter example, it is relevant to mention the concept of teshuvah (repentance) upon teshuvah over a gradual period of time, working on an issue, as it presents itself, even across one’s lifespan.
The refinement of the soul, with the help of H’Shem, occurs through this constant focus on introspection, as one gains insights throughout the day, and during a specific time period set aside for this purpose. Both of these modes of introspection are integral, according to R. Moshe Chaim Luzatto, who is best known for his work, Mesillas Yesharim (the Path of the Just).
Yet, how does individual guidance from Above relate to the endeavor of making reparations for the soul through careful consideration of one’s faults, character defects, and aveiros (sins)? It is because there is a connection between the blessings and curses (the positive and negative events in life) and G-d’s sense of justice in response to our obedience or lack thereof. “I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life ” (Deuteronomy 30:19, JPS 1917 Tanach). Therefore, when we remind ourselves of this connection, we can begin to “connect the dots,” so to speak, between our actions and the events in our lives. Some might say, that this effort only would unravel the cause and effect relationship of our actions; however, I firmly believe that G-d is a key part of this equation.